Monday, June 30, 2014

  • Monday, June 30, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Hamas continues to deny that they were behind the kidnappings and murders of Eyal, Gil-ad and Naftali:
A Hamas spokesman denied responsibility Monday evening for the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers, threatening to “open the gates of hell” against Israel if it launched an attack against the Gaza Strip.

“The story of the disappearance and killing of the three settlers is based on the Israeli narrative only,” Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP. “The Israeli occupation is trying to refer to this narrative in order to justify its wide-scale war against our people, against the resistance and against Hamas.”
It looks like Hamas is taking its talking points from Mondoweiss and Ali Abunimah, who sickeningly claimed a week after the kidnapping  that it was equally likely that Jews had abducted the boys:
Abunimah writes that the Israelis have an obligation to satisfy the public mind before making such accusations:
Reminder that the occupiers vandalizing Palestinian communities have still produced no evidence Palestinians “kidnapped” the settlers.
Abunimah also asked a very logical question: Why aren’t Israeli soldiers raiding the Israeli colonies on the West Bank? Are Jews really immune from suspicion of foul play in connection with missing teenagers?
But now we know that Hamas was behind it. The two missing kidnappers and their families are Hamas associates, and even Hamas doesn't deny that.

Normally, Hamas is proud of their terror attacks. This time they are denying it. The question is, why?

This can now be answered, based on the background information now being revealed:
Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Fraenkel, 16, and Gil-ad Shaar, 16, the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers whose bodies were found on Monday, realized very quickly that they had been abducted on the night of June 12.

The three teens were waiting at Geva’ot Intersection, west of the settlement of Alon Shvut in the Etzion Bloc south of Jerusalem, soon after 10:15 p.m, looking to catch a ride heading west on Route 367 toward Beit Shemesh and from there to locations in central Israel where each of them lived.

The prevailing assessment within the defense establishment is that the kidnappers, at least at first, only saw one of the hitchikers, perhaps Yifrach, who did not know Shaar and Fraenkel. Only once the kidnappers’ Hyundai i35 came to a stop did the kidnappers realize that they would be outnumbered by their hostages within the small confines of the car. This may be what changed the nature of the crime from kidnapping to murder, security sources suggested.

Inside the Hyundai, Israel alleges, were Hamas terrorists Amer Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme.

Recognizing, too late, that the car was not an innocent Israeli vehicle, one of the teens called the police at 10:25 p.m. and whispered, “We’ve been kidnapped.” The call was transferred immediately to a senior female officer, who continued to ask questions but received no reply. The call lasted for 2:09 minutes and was then cut off. The officer called the number eight more times, but received three busy signals and reached voicemail five times.

The kidnappers, apparently realizing that a call had been made, shot the three teens dead soon afterwards in the backseat of the car, military sources said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday night that they were murdered “in cold blood.”

Early assessments by some regarding the professionalism of the terrorists appear to have been misplaced: the killers seem to have panicked. The three teens did not fulfill the role Hamas sought for them, security officials indicated, to serve as bargaining chips that would free thousands of Palestinians prisoners and promote the Hamas brand throughout the West Bank.

The killers then drove a further 10 minutes or so before switching vehicles. They abandoned the Hyundai i35, a relatively new vehicle, and set it on fire.

They transferred the bodies to the second vehicle, and drove close to the field in the Halhul area where the three corpses were ultimately discovered, bound, partially buried, and in what eyewitnesses said was “in not good condition,” on Monday afternoon. The land where the bodies were found belongs to the Kawasme family, Channel 2 news reported.

Unbeknownst to the killers, the emergency call had not prompted an alert by Israel’s security forces. The senior officer did not pass on the information to her superiors or listen to the recording for further evidence, concluding that it was a prank call. The security forces realized there had been a kidnapping, and began what became an 18-day search operation, only some seven hours later.

Assuming that they were being hunted down right away, the kidnappers quickly abandoned the three bodies, and made their escape.
Hamas is denying the murders because it was a botched operation. 

The goal was to kidnap a soldier or a "settler" to bargain for the release of prisoners. Hamas has made no secret of that desire, and even published handbooks on how to best accomplish a kidnapping.

The appearance of two more teens, the panicking over the phone call, and the murders in the backseat (from where it would have been nearly impossible for them to escape or fight back) were not planned. I'm not sure that the torching of the stolen car was planned either.

The named kidnappers are associated with Hamas, as are their families. It is clear that they felt they were being pursued, they got rid of the bodies as quickly as they could - in lands belonging to one of their families - and they hightailed it out of the area as fast as possible, no doubt at the behest of their Hamas handlers. They could have waded to Jordan by the time the Israeli police recovered from their serious errors of judgment regarding the phone call.

The discovery afterwards that two of the victims were children and even some Arabs might object to murdering minors ensures that Hamas will not take credit for this attack, even though it was clearly planned by them. Hamas is already on thin ice with Egypt accusing it of being a terror group and the unity government not working out very well.

If they had successfully kidnapped a soldier, or a Jewish adult,  Hamas would have unlimited prestige and it would gain the protection of the PLO and Fatah, which have made the exchange of prisoners a major platform. Two dead children would not engender the amount of sympathy Hamas required from its erstwhile partners in "unity." Right now, with the outrages by Islamists in in Syria and Iraq, Hamas does not want to be associated in anyone's minds as another version of ISIS.

This is why Hamas must lie about its involvement in this hideous murder of children, to maintain a tiny bit of deniability as it attempts to raise its profile in the Arab world as a major political player and not as a terror group.

From Ian:

International leaders condemn murder of kidnapped teens
Politicians and leaders throughout the world fiercely condemned Monday the murder of three Israeli teenagers, Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel and Gil-ad Shaar, whose bodies were found several hours earlier near the Palestinian village of Halhul, north of Hebron. The three had been abducted on June 12 while they were hitchhiking from a bus stop in the Etzion Bloc in the West Bank.
“We obviously condemn in the strongest possible terms violence that takes the lives of innocent civilians,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
French President Francois Hollande condemned the “cowardly murder” as well, and went on to offer his sincere condolences to the slain teenagers’ families and to Israeli authorities, AFP reported.
Prime Minister David Cameron stated that the killing was “an appalling and inexcusable act of terror perpetrated against young teenagers,” according to AFP.
Daphne Anson: Isi Leibler's Insights Into European Antisemitism, Jewish Leadership Reactions, & Other Critical Current Issues (video)
Here's the highly articulate and characteristically forthright veteran international Jewish leader and Jerusalem Post columnist Isi Leibler in conversation with Rabbi Mark Golub on Shalom TV. The topics range from the kidnapping of the three teenage Israelis in the West Bank, to the New York Metropolitan Opera's planned restaging of the despicable opera "The Death of Klinghoffer", to the crisis of European antisemitism and the head-in-the-sand attitude of what passes for the Anglo-Jewish leadership.

BDS Activist Admits: Boycott Call Limited
A senior official in the BDS movement has admitted that the “boycott” of Israel is limited to areas that don’t hurt the boycotters too much.
In a series of emails obtained by The Jewish Press, a leader of the website confirmed that “the BDS campaign, supports a boycott of Israeli institutions, not a blanket boycott of all Israeli individuals.”
The emails were prompted by a news article about Israeli doctors from Haifa who volunteered their time in May to treat hundreds of patients in northern Ethiopia. BDS activists were asked whether Ethiopians would have correctly boycotted the Israeli doctors, in order to show their disgust with the Zionist enterprise and support for the “Palestinians”.
Famed Rock Star Bashes BDS 'Real Racists'
Famed rock musician Phil Soussan, a bass guitarist songwriter and producer who has worked with Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol and other popular singers, spoke out against the BDS boycott movement targeting Israel.
On his Facebook page last Friday, Soussan compared several recent events, noting the crackdown on Donald Sterling, owner of the NBA team Los Angeles Clippers over his racist remarks that were revealed in a recording, and the recent outrage over the name of the NFL football team Washington Redskins over its perceived negative portrayal of Native Americans.
"Sterling - a racist? …shock, horror, disgust, public outcry, fines. The Washington Redskins ? …NOT in our country!" wrote Soussan.
"But, here in Los Angeles, in an attempt to target, harass and intimidate Jewish students at UCLA, Students for 'Justice' in Palestine (SJP) have just demanded that candidates for student government positions sign a statement pledging they will not go on any trip to Israel sponsored by Jewish organizations," continued the rock musician.

  • Monday, June 30, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
I see some tweets wondering whether the White House will react strongly to the murder of an American citizen by Hamas.

You gotta be kidding.

The US treated a case where three Americans were killed in a diplomatic convoy in Gaza with kid gloves!

Back in 2003:
A powerful remote-controlled bomb detonated beneath an American diplomatic convoy in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, killing three American security specialists assigned to the American Embassy by a private military contractor and wounding an American diplomat. The bombing was the first fatal attack on an official American target since the current Palestinian uprising began three years ago.

The explosion shortly after 10 a.m. hit one of three armored Chevrolet Suburbans carrying American diplomats and a security detail to Gaza City for meetings with Palestinian candidates seeking Fulbright scholarships for graduate studies in the United States.
Did the US push hard to find the murderers?

Not at all:
After Parsons' body was brought back to Wayne for a funeral at his Roman Catholic parish and burial in a Franklin Lakes cemetery, his family figured the killers would eventually be tracked down.

"We believed that as time went by the perpetrators would be caught," John Parsons said.

But nothing happened.

"It just fell off the radar screen," he said.

Or perhaps it was blocked by Palestinian authorities.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Washington-based Investigative Project on Terrorism show that the FBI and State Department officials tried to respond quickly. A team of seven FBI agents arrived a day after the bombing.

But Palestinian authorities had not secured the crime scene, the documents say. As the agents tried to collect evidence, they were pelted with rocks by Palestinian youths. Fearing they might be harmed, the agents quickly scooped up as much material as they could and left.

The Associated Press reported that the Palestinian crowd chanted "Allahu Akbar" - God is great - as the U.S. agents retreated to their cars surrounded by rifle-toting Palestinian police.

The FBI documents offer no clues about possible suspects. But investigators are quite sure of one critical element of the story: The bomb, containing 150 to 200 pounds of TNT, was set off by a remote control device. In other words, the bombers targeted the convoy.

A few months after Parsons' death, Palestinian authorities charged three members of the Palestinian Revolutionary Council with manslaughter for possessing explosive devices connected to the bombing. A Palestinian judge ordered that three suspects be released for lack of evidence, but Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat kept them in jail.

The three were later freed by a mob, reportedly led by the PRC, and have never been caught. Several months later, the head of Palestinian military intelligence announced that he knew the names of the killers. But he declined to arrest them, claiming that Palestinian police "cannot act against the factions while the fighting with Israel continues."

As the years went by, a litany of U.S. officials called on the Palestinians to solve the case - or allow American investigators back into Gaza to track down suspects and witnesses.
So the PA protected the murderers, and the US backed off....because the idea of publicly upsetting the idea that the Palestinian Authority is anything but peaceful is not to be considered.

Real peace cannot ever happen while the world allows itself to be taken hostage by lies. And the ideas that Fatah is "moderate," that the PA wants peace, that Abbas accepts Israel's existence in any real way, that Hamas is "pragmatic"...all of them are lies.

  • Monday, June 30, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
From NYT:
Israeli military searchers found three bodies believed to be those of the missing Israeli teenagers who disappeared more than two weeks ago in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, senior government officials said Monday. The Israeli government called an emergency Cabinet meeting.

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity before the official announcement, said the Army had found the three bodies buried “in a field near Hebron” and were waiting to inform the families before releasing information.

“They know it’s the three, they will know for sure after they do the autopsy."The official said the three appeared to have been shot to death, likely “very close to the kidnap” time, and that the prime suspects had still not been caught.

Times of Israel confirms.

The bodies were found in an area between Halhul and Karmei Tzur on Monday afternoon. Israeli security forces, which had been conducting extensive searches in the area, closed it off and declared it a closed military zone.
There are no words.

UPDATE: Apparently investigators pretty much knew that the news would be bad, according to Sheera Frankel at Buzzfeed (although she is not always the most reliable reporter):

Israeli officials have imposed a gag order on many details of the search for the teens. That gag order initially included a phone call made from one of the teens to police, as well as evidence found in a burnt-out car in the Hebron area.

BuzzFeed spoke to an Israeli official involved in the case, who confirmed that during the police call a gunshot can clearly be heard. The car, he added, had clear evidence of foul play. Over the last week. Israeli soldiers could be seen digging through rocks and dredging wells in Hebron in the search for the teens.

“We have been operating, for some time now, with evidence that these boys were killed,” he said. “It is with a heavy heart that we realized we were looking for bodies.”
And the police dispatcher didn't report it???

UPDATE 1.5: TOI contradicts this account, which is why I don't usually trust Frankel.

Recognizing, too late, that the car was not an innocent Israeli vehicle, one of the teens called the police at 10:25 p.m. and whispered, “We’ve been kidnapped.” The call was transferred immediately to a senior female officer, who continued to ask questions but received no reply. The call lasted for 2:09 minutes and was then cut off. The officer called the number eight more times, but received three busy signals and reached voicemail five times.

The kidnappers, apparently realizing that a call had been made, shot the three teens dead soon afterwards in the backseat of the car, military sources said.

UPDATE 2: The Muqata reports:

8:44pm IDF Ambulance humvee transporting the bodies of the boys attacked by smashed
Imagine anyone at +972 will condemn attacking an ambulance? No, they are too busy predicting that Israel will react to the coldblooded murders of three boys.
From Ian:

EU, U.S., Funding Incentives to Kill Jews
Children living in territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority, funded by Europe and the U.S., are encouraged to kill Jews and destroy Israel.
There can be no peace so long as financial incentives to kill Jews and destroy Israel continue to be dangled in front of Palestinian populations. It is this aggression, and not humanitarian relief, that much of the well-intended international funding -- with no conditions whatsoever attached -- is used for.
The only conclusion one can draw is the EU and the U.S. are actually on the side of terrorism.
So long as the EU and the U.S continue to fund entities which openly promote acts of terror, they should be held criminally liable as accessories to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The New York Times's Pro-Terrorist Op-Ed
On Saturday, The New York Times featured a piece by jailed Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood member Khaled Al-Qazzaz titled "Why Is the World Silent? Khaled al-Qazzaz: Disappeared by Egypt's Military."
The imprisoned Qazzaz, whose op-ed was "smuggled" out of prison and obtained by The New York Times, posits himself as an innocent “engineer” and “educator” who had just recently become “interested in politics” and was now being unfairly locked up by the newly elected Sisi regime.
'New reality requires security fence on Jordan border'
In light of recent changes in the Middle East, Israel is going to have to construct a security fence along the length of its border with Jordan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.
Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu said that in any future peace deal with the Palestinians, the Israel Defense Forces would be the entity protecting Israel in Judea and Samaria, including the Jordan Valley.
Israel "must stabilize the region west of the security line in Jordan," Netanyahu said, adding that the territory of a future Palestinian state, up to the Jordan River, would have to remain under full Israeli security control for many years.
Watch: ISIS fighter says they will 'break all borders to reach Jerusalem'
A video purportedly shot by Islamist militants at a captured Iraqi border post on the Syrian border shows captured Iraqi soldiers and vehicles, while an English-speaking fighter reaffirms the declaration of an Islamic "caliphate."
The fighter, Abu Safiyya from Chile, claims to be standing on the Iraq border with Syria.
In the clip, titled The End of Sykes-Picot, Safiyya says that the ISIS will eventually break all of the Middle East borders to make way to Jerusalem.

  • Monday, June 30, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
ISIL/ISIS flags were seen at the funeral of two terrorists killed by the IDF last Friday, according to NRG.

Not only that, but one of the terrorists - claimed by the PRC - was wrapped in an ISIL flag.

In February, Al Monitor reported that the major Salafist group in Gaza had declared allegiance to ISIS.

It seems Ayman al-Zawahri’s statement on Jan. 22 disavowing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) had very little impact on the Salafist jihadist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip. The most prominent among those organizations, the Mujahedeen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, quickly issued a statement on Feb. 2, asserting that they were “committed to helping ISIS and bolstering its ranks.” The statement added that the infighting taking place in Syria was due to “an unfair view toward ISIS and its emir, the Prince of Believers Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”

Not long after, a video spread on social networking sites and local news agencies showing purported Salafist jihadists affiliated with al-Qaeda, meeting in the Gaza Strip on Feb. 11, to offer support and pledge allegiance to ISIS.

In the video, dozens of armed black-clad men were seen carrying various types of weapons, their bodies arrayed with explosive belts as they stood in front of a backdrop of palm trees, with an al-Qaeda flag by their side. The video started with a written phrase that read, “Jerusalem champions the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham,” with no further evidence indicating the location of where the clip was shot.
Yet there are a lot of people who are emotionally invested in the idea that Israel's enemies are somehow different than those who are dedicated to destroying the Western world.

(h/t Yoel)

  • Monday, June 30, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
AFP reports:
The Israeli government Sunday authorized 1,500 more Jordanians to come and work in its Red Sea resort of Eilat to combat a labor shortage, the tourism ministry said

It said the decision was taken because of the “serious crisis” caused by not enough hotel workers.

The Jordanians would enter Israel to work and go back across the border to Jordan at night once their shift was finished, the ministry said in a statement.

“I am persuaded that this decision will reinforce peace between Israel and Jordan, and help reduce high unemployment in southern Jordan,” it quoted Tourism Minister Uzi Landau as saying.

Ministry figures show that some 300 Jordanians currently work in and around the resort, which has about 12,000 hotel rooms.
Jordan's Ammon News says that Jordan's Labor Ministry knows nothing about this.

The secretary-general of the ministry Hamada Abu Negmet said the ministry "does not have relationships with Israel, nor any program or cooperation of any kind," pointing out that there may be other parties to cooperate with Israel in this endeavor but certainly not the ministry.

That seems unlikely.
We are under severe pressure by the shortage of manpower in Eilat – especially in the summer season,” said Eilat Hotel Association CEO Shabtai Shay. Being able to employ Jordanians “will make our lives much easier,” he said.

The Jordanians will work only during the day – crossing the border in the morning and returning to Jordan in the evening.

“I’ve done everything in my power to employ Israelis,” Shay said. “We offer special benefits; we offer higher salaries…but we were unable to employ Israelis.”
I imagine that there are plenty of Western college students who would love to work in Eilat all summer for free in exchange for transportation, room and board.
  • Monday, June 30, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
More lazy moral equivalence from Jodi Rudoren in The New York Times, in a story headlined "After West Bank Kidnapping, 2 Mothers Embody a Divide"  (originally the headline seems to have been "2 Mothers Cope With Loss of Sons:")
It was about 4 a.m. on a Friday when the police banged on Rachel Fraenkel’s door in this Jerusalem suburb looking for her 16-year-old son, Naftali, and a friend he studies with at a yeshiva in the West Bank. The night before, Naftali had texted his parents saying he was going to hitchhike back home. They had no idea he had never arrived.

“I was praying maybe he did something stupid and irresponsible,” Ms. Fraenkel recalled, “but I know my boy isn’t stupid, and he isn’t irresponsible.”

It was almost exactly a week later, just past 5 a.m., that Aida Abdel Aziz Dudeen was startled awake by a gunshot, then banging on her own door in the West Bank town of Dura. Her family had locked the door the night before to keep her 15-year-old son, Mohammed, from confronting the Israeli Army after days of house-to-house searches and arrest raids. The key was still under Ms. Dudeen’s pillow.

“I didn’t imagine he would jump out the window,” she said. “I saw a cousin at the door shouting, ‘Mohammed is a martyr!’ I said, ‘Mohammed who?’ He said, ‘Your son.’ He showed me a shirt with blood. I wanted to know who died because I still believed my son was inside the house.”

More than two weeks after the abduction of Naftali and two other Israeli teenagers, Israel’s security crackdown has raised questions about the asymmetry of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the value of lives on both sides. Mohammed, who witnesses said was among a crowd of youths who hurled stones at Israeli soldiers storming their neighborhood that morning, is one of five Palestinians fatally shot by soldiers in the West Bank; three more have been killed by airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.

Most Israelis see the missing teenagers as innocent civilians captured on their way home from school, and the Palestinians who were killed as having provoked soldiers. Palestinians, though, see the very act of attending yeshiva in a West Bank settlement as provocation, and complain that the crackdown is collective punishment against a people under illegal occupation.

Ms. Fraenkel and Ms. Dudeen share little aside from deep religiosity and empty beds where their sons should be. But both have been thrust into conspicuous roles in their side-by-side societies, reflecting the conflict’s human costs.
So who is being compared to a boy who was just trying to get home?

An Arab boy who jumped out his window specifically to fight Israeli soldiers, who participated in a riot where not only stones but Molotov cocktails were being thrown at the soldiers.

The New York Times is comparing a boy who was kidnapped because he was a Jew to a boy who deliberately chose to be a combatant and to engage in acts of war.

Being a Jew in a region that Palestinian Arabs believe should be Jew-free isn't exactly the same level of "provocation" as purposefully going out of your way to join a battle. While Rudoren doesn't explicitly make the equivalence, the style of the article where the mothers of both boys are interviewed leaves little doubt as to what impression she wants to give her readers. (There are six photos accompanying the article, three about the Fraenkels and three about the Dudeens.)

The implication, of course, is that being Jewish on "Palestinian land" is just as reprehensible as hurling firebombs and potentially deadly projectiles.

(h/t Ronald)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

  • Sunday, June 29, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Some Arabic media are outraged that Israeli jets hit terrorist targets on the first day of Ramadan. Attacking during holy days must be an unconscionable act.

Of course, they weren't too concerned about attacking Israel on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur in1973.

But the irony is that the Arab world calls the Yom Kippur War The Ramadan War.

That year, Ramadan coincided with the Hebrew month Tishrei in which Yom Kippur is marked. They celebrate it as a victory, and they celebrate that they waged war during Ramadan!

Which means that not only did Muslims attack Jews on the Jewish holy day, but they did it during the Muslim holy season as well.

Obviously, the rules of war are completely different for Muslims than for everyone else.

  • Sunday, June 29, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
The Popular Resistance Committees have taken responsibility for the recent rocket attacks from Gaza.
Al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, on Sunday claimed responsibility for launching rockets from the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel.

The shelling is part of "our retaliation to the Israeli crimes against our Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the ongoing violations against prisoners," according to the statement.

The statement marks the first time a Palestinian faction claims responsibility for the upsurge in rockets launched from Gaza since Israel launched a massive military deployment across the West Bank in mid-June in pursuit of three missing Israeli teenagers.
On their homepage, they are celebrating the 8th anniversary of one of their terror attacks:
Today is the eighth anniversary of the killing of Zionist soldier Eliyahu Asheri who was killed in the West Bank at the hands of mujahedeen heroes under the name "Operation Angry Knights" ...
In light of these jihadist memories we emphasize the following: First, we confirm that the option of kidnapping Zionist soldiers is our choice and our highest priority at the current stage as long as there are Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and we will not give up this right and no obstacle will stand in our way. Secondly, we call on all Palestinian factions to work in the trench of blood and flesh that will bring victory and pride and liberation and liberation of our brave prisoners of the Zionist occupation and appreciate the steadfastness of our prisoners and unite with them behind the walls and the bars. Thirdly, we call on the Arab nation and Islamic countries to pay attention and put all their power to the issue of Palestinian and Arab prisoners in the prisons of the Zionist enemy and work through all political and military means to liberate them all, and that the blood of the Palestinian and Arab-Muslim have a heavy price, and the enemy should know about it and we are willing to strive and penetrate the border in order to obtain the freedom of our prisoners from the prisons and to liberate our people from the great siege and imprisonment.
Eliyahu Asheri was not a soldier.

Eliyahu Pinchas Asheri (February 2, 1988 – June 25, 2006) was an Israeli student from the settlement of Itamar, in the northern West Bank. He was a student at the religious pre-army Mechina (preparatory program) "Elisha" in Neveh Tzuf.

On Sunday, June 25, 2006, Eliyahu was kidnapped while on his way from Beitar Illit to Neveh Tzuf, northwest of Ramallah. Asheri was last seen on 9:00 pm Sunday night, after he left the home of a friend in Betar Illit and was hitchhiking near the French Hill intersection of Jerusalem by one of his classmates.

On Tuesday, the Palestinian militant group Popular Resistance Committees initially announced that the group has kidnapped a Jewish settler in the West Bank. On Wednesday, June 28, Abu Abir, the spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, stated that Asheri would be "butchered in front of TV cameras" if Israel did not suspend its Operation Summer Rains into the Gaza Strip, which took place is in response to the kidnapping of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) corporal Gilad Shalit.Later on that day the Popular Resistance Committees stated that Asheri was slain.

Around 2:30 am on June 29, the IDF recovered the body of Asheri which had been buried in an open field near the village of Beitunia, not far from Ramallah. The forensic investigation revealed that Asheri he was shot to death by a bullet to the head from close range, possibly the same day in which he was abducted. The IDF had been led to the site by the Palestinian militant Wasam Abu Ragila, whom was a prime suspect of the murder of Asheri, whom had been arrested on Wednesday by the Israeli police anti-terror unit and IDF troops and whom confessed in his investigation about his part in the kidnapping and murder of Asheri and gave specific details about the location of Asheri's body.

On the morning hours of 4 July 2006, during a joint operation conducted by the IDF and the Israel Security Authorities, the three Tanzim militants whom murdered Eliyahu Asheri and whom were hiding in the a Palestinian Police headquarters building in Ramallah, were apprehended after a three-hour standoff. The three men were Bassam Shafik Atiya Ahtiya, Khamze Salah Taktuk, and I'iam Fuab Naaef Kamamju. All three were reported to be members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and had been serving in the security forces of the Palestinian Authority.
While the PRC took responsibility, it was Fatah terrorists that kidnapped and murdered Eliyahu, and they were protected by the PA.
  • Sunday, June 29, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Aw, and I was so looking forward to this.

From Al Arabiya:

Egypt’s army on Saturday said it would delay for six months the public use of a device previously announced as being able to treat and cure hepatitis C and AIDS viruses.

The postponement of the device was made two days before a scheduled date set by the army for putting the machine to use at military hospitals, UAE-based daily Gulf News reported on Sunday.

“The delay will continue until the end of the experimental period related to the follow-up of patients being treated by the device... this takes six months,” army medical services chief Maj. Gen. Jamal a-Serafi said, according to the newspaper.

In what had been dubbed earlier this year as a “unprecedented scientific breakthrough,” the device, named C-fast, had also been touted to “eliminate the C virus with a cost tens of times less that its foreign likes, and is 90 percent successful,” an Egyptian army spokesman said in a statement.

The news of the machine triggered satires and parodies on social media an TV programs after an army medical staffer said the equipment draws blood from the patient with HIV or AIDS, destroys the virus and returns it as nutrients “like grilled meatball” to the patient.
Without actually touching the patient!

Maybe they are still training their jinn to treat AIDS.

From Ian:

After rocket fire, Israeli jets strike 12 locations in Gaza
The Israel Air Force struck twelve separate sites in the Gaza Strip early Sunday in an ongoing air offensive against continued rocket fire at Israel’s southern towns.
The strikes targeted a weapons factory in the northern part of the strip, another weapons facility and a “terror center” in central Gaza and six sites in the southern strip, three of them concealed rocket launchers, the IDF said.
Direct hits were confirmed on all sites.
Netanyahu: Israel Ready to 'Expand' Gaza Operations
Israel is "ready" to expand its operations in Gaza, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Sunday after the air force struck 12 targets overnight following a surge in terrorist rocket fire.
Speaking to ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said the almost-nightly military strikes on Gaza could be expanded should the need arise.
His remarks came after a sharp hike in tensions along the border as terrorist groups have stepped up their fire on southern Israel.
"Over the weekend, the IDF attacked multiple targets in response to firing at Israel from the Gaza Strip. We are ready to expand this operation as per need," Netanyahu said, without elaborating.
Hamas Admits Giving Rocket Terror a Free Hand
Abu-Marzouk, deputy to Hamas's political bureau leader Khaled Mashaal and the man tasked with the reconciliation with Fatah, clarified on his Facebook page that Hamas has no security coordination with the IDF, something Hamas has criticized the Palestinian Authority (PA) over.
The Hamas deputy leader clarified that the Hamas ceasefire with Israel, which was brokered by Egypt to end the 2012 counter-terror Operation Pillar of Defense, is different than the PA's security cooperation with the IDF.
That ceasefire, according to Abu-Marzouk, was a strategic achievement for Hamas, given that it canceled the buffer zone on the Gaza side of the security barrier, allowing terrorists to approach the fence to launch attacks. Abu-Marzouk added that it expanded the maritime boundaries for local fishermen, and opened border passages.
Abu-Marzouk announced that the terrorists launching rockets, which on Saturday night directly hit a factory in Sderot burning it down, are not being stopped or arrested by Hamas.
After rocket barrage, Liberman calls to consider retaking Gaza
Over a dozen rockets were fired at southern Israel from Gaza over the weekend, with one destroying a paint factory, and injuring four. Israeli jets responded by hitting 12 sites in the strip, including concealed rocket launchers and “terror sites,” the military said.
“We have to decide if we are heading to a scenario of re-taking full control of the strip,” Liberman said in an interview with Army Radio. “We’ve seen that a limited operation just strengthens Hamas, so the alternative is clear. There is no scenario in between.”

  • Sunday, June 29, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Michael Lumish, of the Israel Thrives blog as well as a regular blogger at Times of Israel and Jews Down Under, continues his weekly column here at EoZ.

hat1I have tended to be rather tough on my progressive-left Jewish friends and colleagues.

I have criticisms and often they do not appreciate those criticisms.

I complain that there is a tendency within the diaspora Jewish left to whip up hatred toward those bad Jews who live where Obama and Abbas do not want them to live.  I fret over the fact that we almost always play defense, with this venue as one significant exception.  Out of an overblown sense of moral superiority, perhaps, we tend to fall for the moral equivalency canard.  We are almost entirely ignoring Jewish history prior to 1948 in our consideration of the conflict.  And we have tendency to befriend our enemies and spit malice at our friends.

{In fact, there might be one or two people who think that I do precisely that, myself.}

However, my main criticism of progressive-left Zionism is in the disinclination to speak out against political Islam.  There is the desire to be fair to a fellow religion from the Levant despite the fact that this fellow religion embedded genocidal Jew Hatred directly into its primary sources, such as the Koran and the Hadiths.

But every now and again I am surprised when people who I think are in ideological ruts jump their vehicle out of those ruts.

There is was a small blog out there in the world, originally published by Jon Segall called the Progressive Zionist which,I suppose, was a rival blog to Israel Thrives.  Certainly I knew Jon from Daily Kos and we had mutual partners for discussion, once upon a time.  We both stood in favor of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people and, in fact, I organized a panel discussion with Segall and Michael Harris of Stand With Us at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco a few years ago.

Just as I was intending to praise the new editorship, because the Progressive Zionist awakened from its vegetable torpor by finally speaking out against the foremost enemies of the Jewish people, which is political Islam... Segall shut the blog shut down!

The former new editor - who I suppose edited the Progressive Zionist for a grand total of two weeks, if that - went by the moniker "fizziks" and is someone who would not be entirely unfamiliar to the regulars here.   He wrote a piece which I was intending to quote in order to show how sometimes people can emerge from what I call ideological blinkertude, when just now I discover they shut the joint down.


This being the case, I have to say that a rivalry is not necessarily a bad thing. Certainly rivalries can turn ugly, and I very much enjoyed the History Channel mini-series Hatfields & McCoys... so long as you guys associate me with the Hatfields!

But rivalries can also incline people to think in fresh ways.

I wanted to give "fizziks" credit for being smart enough and open-minded enough to think independently and to, therefore, expand the ideological boundaries of his little magazine even if Segall did shut it down.

In a certain kind of way fresh thinking is its own reward.

And make no mistake, what we are doing on these blogs, when it is done well, comes out of the twentieth century New York City tradition of the "little magazine." Some of them still survive, such as Commentary and the New Republic, although since the departure of Marty Peretz from the New Republic the New Republic is no longer the New Republic... if it ever really was.

So, I guess that I feel like I am writing an obituary.

Jon Segall meant well, much of the time - I suppose - but he loathed "conservatives" which he apparently defined as those nefarious creatures who sometimes disagreed with him.  "Fizziks" is more open-minded and I hoped could steer the Progressive Zionist into a direction that actually addresses the significant questions and problems facing the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel today.

But ultimately it does not much matter where the ideas come from, so long as helpful ideas get out.

I cannot speak for the Jewish community as a whole - I cannot, right? - but I think that it is reasonable to say that we have every right to be concerned about the rise of political Islam and we should not demonize those of us within the Jewish community, diaspora or Middle Eastern, who express that concern.

We do not need to spit flames and fire - we do not need to send out the Third Fleet for Chrissake - but we should be able to have an honest conversation on what is, to my mind, the foremost problem facing the Jewish people today.
  • Sunday, June 29, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Ma'an:
Israel has dropped hundreds of anti-Hamas lollipops in two of the West Bank's largest cities, in a renewed attempt to incite Palestinian popular opinion against the Islamist political group.

Palestinian residents of Nablus and Ramallah noticed on Sunday morning that hundreds of lollipops had been dropped in the streets and alleyways of the city, decorated with the phrase "Ramadan Kareem … Some sweets, after Hamas has made life in the West Bank bitter."

Witnesses in Nablus told Ma'an that they saw Israeli soldiers throwing the lollipops in the streets.

Onlookers Ma'an spoke to believed that the passing out of the lollipops is part of a "psychological warfare" by Israeli occupation forces to incite the Palestinian people against Hamas, which it accuses of having "kidnapped" the three Israeli teens.

Others, however, said that they thought the "strange behavior" indicates that the Israeli military operation in the West Bank has failed to find a clue about the missing Israeli teenagers, and are hoping to reach out for potential information.

The lollipops are not the first anti-Hamas "gifts" Israeli forces have passed out in the West Bank in recent days.

During a military raid in Nablus on Thursday, Israeli forces dropped match boxes in the streets with a phrase in colloquial Arabic reading "Beware! Hamas is inflaming the West Bank."

But are the lollipops kosher?

Worse, were they manufactured in a settlement?
  • Sunday, June 29, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
I received a very interesting email from a staunchly Zionist Reform rabbi:

I'm living in the twilight zone. Arik Ascherman of "Rabbis for Human Rights" is having issues with Presbyterian Church USA's vote, publicly asking why PCUSA didn't at least propose positive investment as an alternative. The J Street contingent almost seems beside themselves in bewilderment. John Rosove, J Street's Rabbi Mouthpiece, of all people, wrote a pretty good article about PCUSA talking about a friend stabbing a friend in the back.

This resolution was unfair, biased, shameful, ignorant, and a misguided slander of the Jewish people and state of Israel, pure and simple....True friends of the Jewish people would not have passed such a resolution. True friends would have come to Israel to learn first-hand about the reality in which Israelis live. True friends would have toured other countries in the region to understand context. True friends would not have permitted the publication of that propagandist anti-Israel and anti-Semitic screed and would remove it immediately from its website. True friends would have joined with the American Jewish community to support efforts to help Israel and the Palestinians resolve their conflict. True friends do not stab each other in the back.

That is what the Presbyterian Church (USA) did, all disclaimers aside – and it hurts!

Meanwhile my movement's rabbis are having a conniption all of a sudden about Zionism Unsettled. I'm not sure that Rick Jacobs wasn't channeling Bibi on the URJ's conference call about the vote Thursday and said that Zionism Unsettled was anti-Jewish and the worst thing he'd seen since the infamous Zionism=Racism UN resolution in the 1970s. Add to that the numerous Reform rabbis quoting Bibi, actually quoting Bibi, about Christians in other nations in the region. I've seen this quoted a half dozen times by very left leaning Reform Rabbis in the past couple of days alone, "Let them come and visit Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, the only country where Christianity is growing and see for themselves what is going on. Then let them take a bus tour to Libya, or Syria. I have two suggests for them, 1) make sure the bus is armored plated and 2) don't tell them you are Christians."

Strange things happen when friends stab you in the back, I guess.
I would add that strange things can also happen in the non-Jewish world when people who claim to represent Judaism all but abandon the Jewish state, publicly and repeatedly. Say what you want about Muslims but the number of Islamic leaders who publicly criticize Arab countries are tiny, because they understand the importance of a public united front.

Jew-haters laughably claim that Jews have an all-knowing, highly cohesive secret conspiracy that works behind the scenes to undermine everyone else, but the opposite is the case - and the Jewish "leaders" who publicly berate Israel are a large part of the reason that the world can criticize Israel so breezily. They give those criticisms a veneer of respectability, and haters like the leaders of PCUSA are very happy to quote so-called "rabbis" to justify their own antisemitism.

PCUSA's antisemitic moves come in no small part because they are exploiting the divisions in the Jewish world about Israel.

  • Sunday, June 29, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
An Iranian cleric has accused Israel of using "jinn" to spy on Iran and its allies.

Iranian TV has broadcast a segment where Waliullah Naqi Borfer, an expert in the supernatural jinn of Arab mythology, said that Jews have long experience in manipulating jinn and Israel has tried to use the creatures to perform espionage on Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.

The Israelis were unsuccessful in their attempts, however, according to Borfer.

He did not give details.

UPDATE: Here is the new, subtitled video.

(Alex noted this in the comments a couple of days ago, I had missed it.)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

From Ian:

Rocket fired from Gaza slams into Sderot factory
A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip slammed into a factory in the southern city of Sderot on Saturday evening, setting the building ablaze.
Emergency services were on site to battle the fire.
Three employees were reportedly inside the factory at the time, but managed to escape unharmed. One person was lightly injured and was being treated at hospital.
Another rocket likely landed in open territory, according to initial reports.
Gaza surveillance cameras pick up Israeli strike on terrorists
The footage shows a vehicle driving along a coastal road before being struck. Passersby remain seemingly unharmed.
Israel confirmed carrying out the targeted killing of Osama Has​sumi, 29, and Mohammad Fatzih, 24, on Friday, charging that they were involved in a cell responsible for repeated rocket fire on Israel’s southern cities over the past several weeks and were planning terror attacks on Israeli civilians.
“​Militants, like Hassumi and Fatzih, attacking Israel from Gaza, are not safe, do not have immunity, and will not be free to plan, plot and operate. We will continue to strike the instigators and agitators with patience, determination and precision. Gaza rocket terrorism does not pay,” said IDF spokesperson ​Lt. Col. Peter Lerner on Friday.

Israel strikes Gaza in response to rocket barrage
Residents of the coastal enclave reported multiple explosions, and the IDF said in a statement that it targeted “two terror activity sites and a weapon manufacturing facility in the central Gaza Strip, and a weapon storage facility in the southern Gaza Strip.” The Israeli military confirmed direct hits.
Saturday’s pre-dawn Israeli Air Force hits on the Gaza Strip came amid an escalation of hostilities along Israel’s southern border with the Palestinian enclave as IDF troops scour the West Bank for three missing Israeli teenagers. Israel has accused Hamas of carrying out the June 12 abduction of the teens.
Earlier on Friday evening, Israel’s Iron Dome system intercepted two rockets launched at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip following the targeted assassination by Israel of two Gaza operatives the Israel Defense Forces said were responsible for recent rocket fire and attacks on civilians.
IDF Targets Gaza Terror Sites in Response to Ongoing Rocket Attacks

"The Jewish News" promotes anti-Israel blood libel
The editorial claims that "six Palestinians have been killed" as a result of what it implies is Israel's disproportionate response in attempting to find the kidnapped boys. In particular, it says this includes a "3-year-old Palestinian girl". There is no reference to such an incident in the paper itself, but it is almost certain it refers to the case covered here (by Elder of Ziyon) in which even the Palestinian propaganda agency Maan confirms a 3-year-old girl was killed on 24 June 2014 by a Hamas rocket targeted at southern Israel but which fell short. The implication that Israel killed the 3-year-old in response to the kidnappings is therefore a clear blood libel.
It is also interesting to note that the newspaper provides no evidence to support the implication about the other 5 Palestinian deaths. In fact, two of these reported deaths were of Hamas operatives involved in firing rockets from Gaza, and so are also completely unconnected with the kidnappings (except in the sense that Hamas has increased the number of rocket launches since the kidnappings). The other three reported deaths were all of Palestinians involved in violent clashes with Israeli security forces.

Friday, June 27, 2014

From Ian:

Alan Dershowitz, Irwin Cotler: Pollard’s release is a matter of justice
US President Barack Obama’s response to President Shimon Peres’s request for executive clemency for Jonathan Pollard was to refer the matter to US Attorney-General Eric Holder.
Indeed, as it happens, a group of American constitutional and criminal law scholars and practitioners, including six Harvard law school professors, Obama’s alma mater, have written to the president (full disclosure – we are two of the signatories and organizers of the letter) requesting the commutation of Pollard’s sentence to time served. In our letter we argue that “such commutation is more than warranted if the ends of justice are to be served, the rules of law respected and simple humanity secured.”
Lib Dem Friends of Palestine promote Atzmon
Even though Gilad Atzmon’s vile views have been widely condemned by anti-racists, including many pro-Palestinian activists, Lib Dem Friends of Palestine have promoted his racist attack on Ed Miliband’s speech to the LFI on their Facebook page.
"As the Brits were expressing their disapproval of ‘Red Ed’ and his clumsy politics, the Labour leader found the time to socialise with the Jewish Lobby. The following is Ed Miliband’s speech to LFI (Labour Friends Of Israel), the same Zionist Lobby group that funded Blair’s government as it drove Britain into a criminal war in Iraq.
In his speech, Ed Miliband affirms his deep Zionist affiliation. The verdict on his reign is clear, Miliband should never have been the leader of a major British political party. He would have been better suited for a position as a local Rabbi or a part time job as an Israeli consular.

Britain doesn’t need a ‘Friend of Israel’ in Number 10 Downing Street. It needs friend of the British people, an ally of truth and justice and not a Zionist merchant. It needs a humanist and a universalist, instead of an imbecilic tribal operator who sees the world from a kosher perspective driven by the primacy of Jewish suffering.
The following speech serves to convince every proud Brit that the time is ripe to cleanse British public life of Zionists and Jerusalemites. Britain needs to search for its path back to Athens, ethics and the universal so that it can reminds itself its greatness and its role in Western civilization."
This is the kind of statement one would expect to be endorsed by neo-Nazis, not Liberal Democrats. Lib Dem Friends of Palestine have now removed the link, and weakly apologised for ‘any offence caused’. This is not good enough. Who posted this and how will they be dealt with?
Give this Israeli soldier in America a round of applause
November 21st of 2012, Hen Mazzig was walking down Shaul HaMelech street in the heart of Tel Aviv when an ear splitting explosion ripped through the air. The gut wrenching sound echoed across the apartment and office buildings for several seconds soon to be replaced by sounds of agony, then sirens. A Dan commuter bus, No. 142, was running its usual route when at twelve noon Muhammad Mafarji used his cell phone to detonate an explosive device packed with nails and shrapnel. Hen was a block away. Hen knows the value of peace.
Honorably discharged in June of 2012 Hen was not ready to settle down just yet, so when he was offered a job to serve as a Seattle based Shaliach for the Israel advocacy group StandWithUs, he jumped at the opportunity.
This new assignment was an eye opener for a self described left of center Israeli. In just the first few months on the job Hen had been called every name imaginable, had been verbally assaulted, physically threatenedand was asked by the sponsors of an event to leave a venue out of fear for his safety. Hen details some of these experiences in his viral Times of Israel (over 22,000 shares) “An Israeli Soldier to American Jews: Wake up!”.

  • Friday, June 27, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Irene, since I cannot appreciate this as much as she does:

Imagine wearing a wedding dress made of velvet so fine and fabulously embroidered, that when you die, it will be unstitched and reworked to make a Torah ark curtain.  
 מערכת לבוש של אישה
Imagine a young mom, adorned with pearls and wearing a special dress finely embroidered with silver thread, showing off her first baby, knowing that she will wear that same garment to celebrate each of her babies, and will wear it a final time as a shroud when she meets her Creator. 
  Woman's dress
She will protect her children by stitching little shells onto their clothes in asymmetric patterns with red thread to protect them from small pox and other diseases. She may “confuse the evil forces intent on harming young boys by dressing them in girls’ clothing.”
 בגדי תינוקות לטקסים שלאחר הלידה
Imagine a young woman, preparing for her marriage to a man whom she will probably outlive, including in her trousseau the scarf she will wear when she mourns him and a second scarf she will wear when the children she creates with that man die before their fifth birthday .
 מערכת לבוש של אישה

Dress Codes: Revealing the Jewish Wardrobe, an exhibition at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem promises, “From India to Tunis, New York to Baghdad: dresses, suits, wedding outfits, undergarments, and children’s clothing:  a spectacular range of 19th to 20th century Jewish garments from around the world, offering a multi-cultural view of dress, its significance, and its influences on the styles of today.
Quite aside from the fashion, the exhibition records much about Jewish life.  For example, the description of a late 19th century ikat-dyed brocaded silk coat from Bukhara, Uzbekistan notes, “Due to its strong smell, the use of ikat was initially considered repugnant, and was exclusively a Jewish practice; however as the process was perfected it came to be a highly esteemed specialty.”
 מערכת לבוש של אישה נשואה

The website of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a nice article about the exhibition.

  • Friday, June 27, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Perhaps the "*-washing" meme has hit its limit:
Tehran’s provisional Friday Prayers Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ahmad Khatami underlined that the US and Israel have created and supported the terrorist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to sow discord among Muslims.

Addressing a large and fervent congregation of the people on Tehran University campus on Friday, Ayatollah Khatami said, "The US and Israel are supporting the ISIL with the purpose of disintegrating Iraq and create differences among Muslims."

He reiterated that what is currently going on in Iraq is not a fight between the Shiites and Sunnis because the Shiite and Sunni religious authorities have on several occasions condemned the ISIL and its crimes.

The provisional Friday prayers leader said the US and the Zionist regime are plotting to introduce Islam as a tough religion in a bid to allow Israel continue its crime against Muslims.

In similar remarks last week, another provisional Friday Prayers Leader of Tehran, Hojjatoleslam Kazzem Seddiqi said the recent attacks by the ISIL in Iraq are a new plot by the West, specially US, to distract the international community's attention from Israel's atrocities in the Middle East.

"The enemy wants to deprive the Muslim World of unity in a bid to make them forget Israel's dangers," Hojjatoleslam Seddiqi said.
So Israel and the US created a group to murder thousands of people in order to distract the world from noticing Israel going after terrorists.

It used to be that Israel would do good things to distract the world from its crimes, but now it is doing atrocities to distract the world from its crimes!

I think that whenever an Israeli kid climbs onto a school bus, people from Iran and Mondoweiss and the Presbyterian Church USA all say, "Look at how that child is trying to act normally to distract the world from Israel's crimes!"

From Ian:

A mother’s plea for ‘prayer, positive energy, whatever it takes’ to find kidnapped teens
The Times of Israel interviewed Rachelle Fraenkel on Thursday afternoon, in a quiet garden near the family home at Nof Ayalon, two weeks after her son Naftali, 16, was kidnapped along with Gil-ad Shaar, 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19.
We had contacted her because she has been saying that she wants the world in general, and the Jewish world in particular, to do more, to do whatever it can, to help ensure the safe return home of the abducted trio of Israeli teenagers. We thought we would be able to help her get that message disseminated.
Fathers cry too
"We have six children -- five girls and Gil-ad. He is my only son. That was the first thing I thought about when I realized that he was kidnapped: I cannot lose my only son. The bad thoughts are there. I can't erase them. So I tell them: Move aside for now. I clear room in my head for doing things. I focus on being productive for myself and for Gil-ad. I try to control the thoughts, tire myself out with tasks, just to avoid a single moment of quiet. When it is quiet I can hear Gil-ad calling me for help."
Ophir Shaer, 43, is the last person you would ever imagine in a situation like this: standing in front of television cameras, walking red carpets at the President's Residence. He is a lawyer and an accountant. He is shy. He hates being interviewed. But this isn't really an interview; I have already disclosed my personal relationship with the Shaer family. We are neighbors. We have known each other for years. I accompany Ophir and Bat-Galim Shaer, parents of kidnapped teen Gil-ad Shaer, to the Knesset. I am there as a friend of the family. On the way, we converse. It is not an interview.
Ari Lesser - Bring Back Our Boys

  • Friday, June 27, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of Israel agreeing to give the village of Quneitra to Syria in the cease fire negotiations following the Yom Kippur War. Syria is celebrating:

The 26th of June, 1974 marks a day of pride for Syrians across the country on which the Israeli occupation of the southern city of Quneitra was brought to an end.

The city of Quneitra, located in the Golan Heights, came under Israeli control on 10 June 1967, the last day of the Six-Day War. It was briefly recaptured by Syria during the 1973 War, only to once again fall in the Israeli occupation forces’ hands.

It was largely demolished by the time Syria, under the leadership of late President Hafez al-Assad, liberated it from occupation In 1974.

Up to this day, Quneitra stands a living witness to the barbarity of the Israeli occupation which deliberately inflicted the ugliest forms of savagery on almost everything in the city, leaving churches, mosques, hospitals, schools and facilities flattened even after a ceasefire was announced.

The exalted day of victory against the Zionist enemy continues to send the Syrians’ spirits soaring high over increased confidence in notching up a renewed victory against Syria’s new-old staunch enemies who have constantly been in trouble to subvert the Syrian state operating their terrorist tools all across the country to that effect.

As the people of Golan commemorate the liberation day, their hearts, as those of all the Syrians around the world, brim with hope to “liberate each and every inch of the usurped soil of the occupied Golan.”
What does Quneitra look like today, after 40 years of Syrian control?

Exacty the same as it looked in 1974:

It has been kept as a museum of sorts of "Zionist atrocities."
The city has often been used as a stop for foreign VIPs, ranging from the Soviet foreign minister Alexei Kosygin in June 1976[46] to Pope John Paul II in May 2001.[47] Only a handful of families now live in the town, making a living by providing services for the United Nations troops patrolling the demilitarized zone. According to The Times, "the carefully preserved ruined city has become a pilgrimage site for a generation of Syrians."

The city can be visited by tourists, but a permit from the Syrian Ministry of the Interior is required, and sight-seeing is supervised by a military guide. The principal sights on the standard tour are the remains of Quneitra's hospital, mosque and Greek Orthodox church. A "Liberated Quneitra Museum", displaying artifacts from the city's ancient and medieval past, is housed in the former Ottoman caravanserai in the city centre.

There has been no rebuilding. The residents have to live elsewhere, permanently. Quneitra's value to Syria is purely symbolic, and they use that symbolism to the hilt, just to try to hurt Israel. The propaganda is worth far more to Syria than the rights of the former residents to return and rebuild.

This is a theme in the Arab world vis a vis Israel. After all, just as the only reason Quneitra remains in ruins is as an anti-Israel museum, the only reason that "refugee camps" still exist in the Arab world, and especially in PA and Hamas controlled areas, is to create a different kind of museum - a museum where human beings are told they must stay in the camps for their own good, and where Western NGOs and politicians can be taken to view suffering that could have ended decades ago.

They aren't camps - they are zoos, where Israel-haters can "tsk, tsk" about how awful those Zionists are for forcing the people to live in camps that the Arabs themselves are forcing them to live in.

The Western world is not tuned in to the importance Arabs give to symbolism. Especially Americans cannot understand how Arabs consider symbols to be more important than life itself, and how people can be sacrificed so easily for symbolism. But Quneitra, and UNRWA camps, show true Arab priorities every single day.
  • Friday, June 27, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
There are a number of interesting passages in "The Inner Life of Syria, Palestine, and the Holy Land: From My Private Journal, Volume 1" by Lady Isabel Burton, who was the wife of explorer Richard Francis Burton.

At the holy places, Damascus and Jerusalem, religion is the one thought for pugnacious sentiment, as politics used to be in the days when they rose so high in England, that the dearest friends whose opinions differed could not speak. In Damascus, Christian and Moslem are as Guelph and Ghibeline, Montagu and Capulet, Whig and Tory of the olden time. At Jerusalem the fourteen Christian sects wrangle over the Holy Places, except, of course, those who doubt the truth of the sites, and who have come to teach us better. Meanwhile, the Moslems stand over them to flog them into order. If one unhappy Jew were to risk crossing the court of the Sepulchre during Holy Week, the fourteen would for once unite to tear him into threads.

The Palestine Moslems are considered by Thomson, and those who have made researches into their history, to have come from Egypt. My husband says they are a collection of all races, and that the Crusaders drew them from every part of the East.
The Maronites claim to be descended from the ancient Syrians.
The Ansariyyeh, also called Nusayri, are also made to spring from the Canaanites, but the fact is we know nothing about them.
The Metawalis are emigrants from Persia, as their physique proves.
The inhabitants of the Lebanon may be off-shoots from the original Phcenician owners.
The Druzes are Arabs from the eastern confines of Syria, settled partly in the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, and partly in the mountains to the east.

Thomson truthfully says:—

"No country in the world has such a multiplicity of antagonistic races. They can never form a united people, nor combine for any important purpose. They will therefore remain weak and incapable of self-government, and exposed to the invasions and oppressions of foreigners—a people trodden down."

This state of affairs results from and perpetuates a Babel of tongues. English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish are the languages imported by the foreign Consulates. Turkish is the official tongue, and Arabic the national; Persian, Hindostani, and Greek are also common. The Consul has to converse every day with Jews, Maronites, Arabs, Turks, Bedawin, Druzes, Kurds, Afghans, Persians, and Algerines; and he must, or rather he should, understand all their religions and customs.

...These various religions and sects live together more or less, and practise their conflicting worships in close proximity. Outwardly you do not see much, but in their hearts they hate one another. The Sunnites excommunicate the Shiahs, and both hate the Druzes; all detest the Ansariyyehs; the Maronites do not love anybody but themselves, and are duly abhorred by all; the Greek Orthodox abominate the Greek Catholics and the Latins; all despise the Jews. It is a fine levelling school, and teaches one, whatever one's fanatical origin or bigoted early training may have been, to respect all religions, and to be true to one's own.

Except the Bedawin, the Druzes, and the Jews (especially the Samaritans), only a few families can pride themselves on tracing their origin to any antiquity. We must, of course, except all those descended from the Prophet, and especially Abd el Kadir, who is an exile here.
The part about sectarian divisions was quoted in a conference held in Lebanon on how the media fans sectarian divisions of the country.


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